End of July balcony garden update…

Having finished sharing on our trip to La Thomasia and Vallon de Nant, I thought it would be timely to provide another update on my balcony garden … before I would start sharing on the visits that I made to Brunei and Sabah with my younger sister and her family.

The last update on my balcony garden was on the potatoes that I managed to harvest from the two plastic bags of straw-grown potato plants 2 weeks ago. In total, I harvested 1.2 kilos of new potatoes.  Not bad lah, … considering that I had thought that the plants had died of thirst while we were away!  Still another bag to be harvested … but I will keep them growing for a while longer.

Although it was wonderful to go to Singapore, visit a very good friend of mine in Brunei with members of my family and then celebrate my youngest sister’s wedding back in Singapore … unfortunately, it also meant missing the crucial development of some of my plants … and, as a result, we have not been able to enjoy much harvest from my garden. I did get to harvest some … but simply not as much as I would have if we had not been away.

A few of the plants were dead or close to death’s door for lack of water by the time we got back, and they did not recover despite my best efforts. Others like my three pots of broad beans were so badly infested with black flies that I simply had to throw them away even though they were already producing nice looking beans. And there were also those that had grown past their harvesting date … and had therefore started to seed. And then there were also others that despite my TLC for the past weeks … I simply had to accept that it was a little too late to get them growing as well as they were growing before I flew to Singapore and left them behind. Sad to say, their growth will forever be stunted lah … or what we would say in Malay ‘terbantut’! haizzz ….

To add to my gardening woes,  we have been experiencing a hot spell with the temperature rising above 30°C for the past few days … which has made my plant-saving effort a little harder. Even though I have been faithfully watering them everyday, it is worrying to see some of the leaves turning a little yellow. I can only hope that they will hang in there until cooler weather returns.

But still … there is always something to be happy and thankful for. I am happy to say that some of the plants are starting to grow well again … and I have also started planting some more seeds … which, hopefully, will grow and produce before the cold season starts.  Let us hope so, shall we?

The rows of containers outside the kitchen door. So far … the plants in the big containers (which have a small water reserve inside them) have been doing relatively well although there have been some leaves of the tomato plants turning yellow almost overnight because of the sudden jump in the temperature that took place a few days ago. But after trimming some of the yellowing leaves … they now look much better! 🙂

This year, I have to say that I am quite pleased with how my tomato plants are growing … especially the ones that I have grown from seeds.


Because of this! Check out the tomatoes growing from the plants.

Yup, yup … they are really producing lots of little tomatoes.  These are Bejbino F1 cherry tomatoes … whose seeds I received as a complimentary gift for buying a number of other seeds on-line from a seed centre in the UK.

Unlike last year, I decided to let the suckers (or side shoots) grow on the tomato plants … and, because of this, the yield is better this year … which is nice.

These are the yellow pear tomato plants grown from the seeds of the yellow pear tomatoes that were given to me by my friend Yen. They too have just started to fruit quite profusely.

I could not believe the number of little tomatoes that have developed over the two weeks since I flew back home.

They look nice and cute, do they not? It seems that these cute little tomatoes have been grown in Europe as early as the 17th century! Oh wow … I believe that this bunch should be ready for picking very soon! 🙂

And these are the Andes des Cornue (or Andes Horn in English). I am happy to say that they, too, … are starting to fruit a bit more profusely than before! I was a little worried for a while about the possibility that they might not produce many tomatoes.

But it was nice to see only recently that these lovelies are slowly catching up in the production department! More and more of them are starting to form … phewww!

I just love the shape of these Andes tomatoes … especially this special one on the right picture. I had initially thought that there were two of them growing very close together. But no … it is actually a single tomato with a really particular shape that gives this impression! Interesting, no? 🙂

But … there is one variety with which I am a little disappointed, though.

It is these pineapple tomatoes which I had bought as seedling plant. It was the first of the tomato plants to flower … but very few of the flowers (from an already small number of flowers) actually went on to develop into tomatoes. I read somewhere on the Internet that this variety is supposed to give very good yields … but I counted the number that I could spot on this lone tree.

So, plus these four small ones which have only just started to develop, there is a grand total of 7 tomatoes!  Haizzz … I can only hope that the few flowers that I saw on the plant will develop into a few more tomatoes before their growing season is over. My only consolation is that this tomato is supposed to be big … so since there are only the two of us at home, I guess we do not really need too many to feed us lah! 😉

And here are some of my other plants that are so far … so good! Let us hope that they continue that way!

This is the Petit Marseillais pepper plant which originated from the South of France. The peppers are orange in colour when ripe and are supposed to be only mildly hot.

Whereas this is a yellow pepper plant. Since the name of the variety was not mentioned on the seedling when I bought it, so I have no idea how these particular peppers are supposed to look like once fully developed and ripe, and how hot they will be, except that they will be yellow in colour. I guess I will find out soon enough.

White onions grown from seeds and lemon grass growing side by side.

A pot of Swiss chards … grown from seeds. Since they seem to germinate easily enough, I have a few of these chards growing, as I did not want to throw any of the germinated seeds! Personally, I think these plain white chards taste better than the coloured ones which I had the fortune to harvest and eat. Next year, I think I will just stick to these plain white chards!

A pot of aubergine which has only just started to re-grow again after taken a beating while we were away. The fruit and flowers that were developing before my holiday did not survive while we were away. But I am happy to see that new flowers are starting to form, again. The smaller plant is one of several Thai aubergine seedlings which a Thai classmate had given me before I left for my holiday … and which miraculously survived my holiday, including many Thai pepper chillies seedlings, too!

The pepino melon plant – still thriving, but it has not been flowering as much as it did before I went for the holiday … so I do not know whether more fruits will develop over the next few weeks. If you notice, purple stripes are already beginning to form on the larger of the two fruits, which means that it is starting to ripen. Nice … I cannot wait to try the fruit!

A pot of runner bean plants. I had to trim them very heavily after coming home to get rid of the parts that had dried up and those that were infested with black flies. But it has now bounced back quite healthily … so, hopefully, it will flower again and produce some beans before the cold season starts. A sticky yellow paper (which I bought from a nursery in Singapore) placed beside the plants seems to be doing the trick of attracting and trapping the black flies.

And this is a broad bean plant which I brought home from the visit to the parents last week. I had given the mum some seeds for her to try and grow, and one of them was broad bean seeds. She faithfully grew these seeds and as a result was able to give me an already flowering seedling for me to grow at home! What a nice turn of luck … as it saves me from having to try and germinate a new batch of seeds … which might or might not have sufficient time to produce the beans before the cold season! 🙂

My sole surviving courgette/zuchini plant … which is a far cry in term of size than the one at the parents’, even though they are siblings (as they were germinated at the same time)! At one point, it had even looked as if it might not make it either … but thankfully, it has now started to grow sturdier and is beginning to flower again … phewwww! I am not sure whether it was the dose of epsom salt (which I had bought while on holiday in Sabah) which did the trick … but as long as it is not dying on me, I am one happy balcony gardener!! hehehe …

And this is one of two melon plants that I have been growing in the wooden crates. It is quite spindly-looking but seems to flower quite a lot for a spindly plant! In fact, I could even spot two small fruits forming … although I do not know whether they will continue to form and develop into full size melons. Well … I can always hope and pray that they will, right?

And these are my sweet corns … (with a cucumber growing in a funny shape on the right). Because of the hot spell in recent days, the leaves on these plants have turned yellow … and the side shoots or shanks which I was hoping would produce more ears are wilting … arggghhh! I know that our balcony is not a good place to grow sweet corns because of the strong winds that we often get. But as these seedlings were being sold for less than CHF 1 each, I could not resist trying to plant them. Oh well … at least, I could say that I have tried growing them!

So these pictures should give you an idea of the current health of my balcony garden. As some of you might know, these are only just some of the edible plants growing on my balcony. I will share how the others are doing on the next balcony update lah!

Have a good weekend!

Other entries on the balcony garden during summer 2012:

6 thoughts on “End of July balcony garden update…

  1. Sekarang the tomatoes dah bertammbah merah dan kuning, tapi Paul tak kasi petik lagi, so that they will lagi masak according to him! But I think nak kena petik very soon or else too ripe.


  2. Meriah….meriah sunggoh….tomatoes jadi pizza sedap nya…puasa…puasa…


  3. Salam Ros,

    Not yet, I read that you need to wait until the tassels on top of the jagung turned dark before you can pick. Mines are just turning brown a little but not dark enough Tak boleh petik terlalu awal or else it will not be ripe enough to eat. Since I have only two corns, nak kena betul2 pasti sebelum petik, kalau tidak the few months of growing these two will be wasted!


  4. Salam CT,

    Jagung tu macam dah boleh di petik je. Pelik sungguh bentuk cucumber tu kan?


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